The talents to watch out for in La Liga 2011-2012 season for each team. A comprehensive guide to talent in La Liga...

Ok so here I go through the 'one's to watch' in the La Liga for the 2011-2012 season for each team in alphabetical order. I name their attributes, honours, records, background infomation, general facts (age, nationality, position ect) and rate their abilty/potential out of 10. Some of these players you may of heard of, other's you may not. These players aren't necassarily the club's best player; just one's to look out for. Not just this season but in the future, too.

Here it goes... I start with Athletic Bilbao. Enjoy the ride!

 


Club: Athletic Bilbao
Name: Borja Ekiza
Age: 23
Nationality: Spain

                                        Ekiza tussles with Real Madrid and Argentina forward Gonzalo Higuain

 

Ekiza, the central defender, joined Bilbao's youth system at the age of 14. He spent his first two senior years with CD Baskonia, the club's third team. The Spanish-born 23-year-old got promoted to the first team in early January of 2011. After a string of injuries to defenders in the first team, Borja made his La Liga debut against mega rich Malaga in a 1-1 away draw. Ekizo played the full 90 minutes and finished his first top flight season firmly established in the starting Xl, beating tough competition from seasoned veterans Fernando Amorebieta, Aitor Ocio and Ustaritz and being booked just once throughout the whole campaign. Impressive stuff. Now he's a first teamer at Bilbao and is enjoying his football. A elegant defender who is very good with the ball at his feet. The next Garay possibly. At the tender age of 23, who knows what could happen to him in his future? We shall wait and see. 7/10

 

 

Club: Athletico Madrid
Name: Diego da Silva Costa
Age: 22
Nationality: Brazil

                  Diego concentrates on ussing his pace and quick feet to edge past his opponent

 

The 22-year-old striker scored 8 goals in all competitions last season for Madrid. Diego started his career at Barcelona as a youngster and then signed his first pro contract with Portuguese side Braga in 2006. The Brazilian has came a long way since and made 34 apps last season clearly indicating that he's liked by coach Gregorio Manzeno. Unfortunatley da Silva suffered a horrid knee injury in Athletico's pre season and therefore will be missing out on most of this season's games. I still wanted to include him as I rate him and believe he's a gem for the future. Skillfull and when put infront of goal usually sticks it in the back of the net. It's a shame he won't feature this season but in 5 years time he should be a regular in the Brazil National Team and be a key player for Athletico Madrid, if he is still there at the time. 8/10

 

 

Club: Barcelona
Name: Thiago Alacantra
Age: 20
Nationality: Spain

                            Thiago skips past the defender as he shows the footballing world his true talent

 

The highly rated Spanish under 21 playmaker is gradually starting to make a name for himself not just in Spanish football but globally. Alacantra was born in Italy, grew up in Brazil where he started his footballing career, and then moved to Spain with his father, ex Brazil world cup winner Mazinho, at a young age. He started his career with Brazilian giants Flamengo and moved to Barcelona in 2005. Thiago was the outstanding player of the Euro under 21 Championships and his team, Spain, went on to win the tournament. He has been handed the no.11 shirt this season which shows Pep Guardiola has faith in the 20-year old. He recently scored against Villarreal at the Nou Camp and is learning all the time off the greats such as Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas ect. His quick feet, blistering pace, remarkable vision and excellent passing abilty makes him the player he is. I expect huge things from Alacantra. Not just because he's a Barcelona product but the abilty he has as a player. The future of the Barcelona and Spanish midfield. 10/10

 

 

Club: Espanyol
Name: Rui Fonte
Age: 21
Nationality: Portugal

   Fonte shields the ball from the Sevilla player as he tries to finally establish himself at the top level

 

Fonte, the Portuguese winger, signed a three year deal with Arsenal in 2006 but rarely featured in Arsene Wenger's plans. He was used in the reserves a lot and as a result he moved to Crystal Palace on loan in 2009. He made a total of 10 apps for Palace but deemed ineffective. Now he is at Espanyol after a loan spell with them last season from Sporting Lisbon. Now Lisbon have signed ex Barcelona winger Jefferen they didn't need Rui and consequently he's joined Espanyol permantley. Wherever he's gone coaches haven't had much time or respect for Fonte. This is a Arsenal product we are talking about. Wenger is no duffer. He picks the best youth there is...most of the time. Hopefully this season the 21-year-old can step up to the plate and show the European stage what he's all about. With his pace and agilty he can cause most defenders problems but just lacks in confidence as he's been loaned out so much in his career and never really settled in anywhere. Now he's with Espanyol he can try and focus on his football and cementing a first team place. It'll be hard, though. Check out Rui in action here:  7.5/10

 

 

Club: Getafe
Name: Miku
Age: 26
Nationality: Venezuela

                                      In-form Miku praises teamates as he enjoys life at his new club Getafe

 

Nicolas Ladislao Fedor Flores, aka Miku, joined Getafe in 2010. The South American forward started off as a sub but as a few strikers started to pick up knocks he pounced at the chance of first team action and is now one of the first on Getafe's starting Xl. Miku represented Venezuela in the Copa America 2011 and has 33 caps for his country and 9 goals. Nicolas scored twice last week against title contenders Real Madrid but unfortunatley it was not enough to secure even a draw for Getafe as they lost 4-2. He's had a good pre season, he's already scored twice this season and he's looking very sharp. Definatley one to watch this season. I like to call him the Robin Van Persie of Spanish football as they play in a  very similar style. 8.8/10

 

 

Club: Granada
Name: Pape Diakhate
Age: 27
Nationality: Senegal

Club record signing Diakhate settles into his new club in Spain as he prepares for a tough season ahead of him

 

The former Nancy, Dynamo Kiev, Saint Etienne and Lyon versatile defender joined Granada for a club record fee of £4.5m in late August. Pape started out at Nancy as a left back and then switched to a more advanced role on the left wing. But now he has found a position where he thinks he is suited best and that is in the heart of the defence. A solid, tough, hard-tackling defender who has drawn comparisons to Marcel Desailly in past seasons due to constant consistent performances and countless impressive displays. He's capped Senegal over 30 times and is very experienced and knows his job very well. Granada have a greaty defender on their hands and I can see why he's their club record signing. I'm expecting big things from Diakhate this season and he will not have an easy ride that's for sure with attackers such as Ronaldo, Messi, Nilmar, Falcao all playing their part in the La Liga this campaign. Remember the name. 9/10

 

 

Club: Levante
Name: Valdo
Age: 30
Nationality: Cape Verde Islands

       Jubilant Valdo celebrates with his Levante teamates after scoring a wonderful solo goal

 

The 30-year-old winger Spanish-born Cape Verde international started his career with Real Madrid B. He then got promoted to the first team after impressing. He's also played for Osasuna, where he started to earn first team appearances and make a name for himself, Espanyol and Malaga. He has 6 Spanish under 21 caps but opted for Cape Verde Islands in the end and has made just 1 app for them. He's getting on a little now but digged out 30 league apps last season netting twice. A experienced player and knows the La Liga inside out. Levante benefit from his knowledge a lot and his sublime passing ability. Whether he'll really make a mark this season I don't know but he still has potential even at the age of 30, which is seen as old in football terms. Valdo has proved he still has what it takes to play at the top at his age. 6/10

 

 

Club: Malaga
Name: Santi Cazorla
Age: 26
Nationality: Spain

     The Spanish international poses for the photos as he arrives at ambitious new club Malaga

 

Cazorla signed for Malaga just this summer from Villarreal for a reported fee of £21m. The right-winger was linked with various clubs during the window including Premier League giants Liverpool and Arsenal. It looked asif Santi would be joining Arsenal but then Malaga came in and basically outbidded Wenger's men for the 26-year-old. It was better conditions for Cazorla as he could stay in Spain with his family and is used to the La Liga enviroment. His best attributes being his pace, abilty to glide past an opponent and his flair. He's at a good, ambitious, hungry club in Malaga and could well be playing in the Champions League again soon...this time with Malaga. I've always admired Santi. He's a top player and a big player on the European stage. His solid and impressive displays have earnt himself a place in the Spanish National Team which he fully deserves.I think he will shine in the current Malaga team and with the support of players such as Jouquin, Van Nisterlooy, Baptista ect. he'll be in dreamland. 9.7/10

 

 

Club: Mallorca
Name: Gianni Zuiverloon
Age: 24
Nationality: Holland

     Zuiverloon failed to make an impact at West Brom after arriving at the club full of promise

 

I know what you are thinking. Why have I named Zuiverloon as a 'one to watch' if he failed at West Brom? It's quite simple, really. The Premier League didn't suit Gianni. The physical edge and pace of the game was too much for him and ultimatley he struggled to cope with the high expectations set. Now he's with Mallorca in the Spanish league he can try and focus on a fresh new start. The La Liga should suit the Dutchman with it's less high intensity compared to the Premier League and far less physical and tough. Zuiverloon should shine with Mallorca. He does have a lot of talent and pace. He's an attacking full back and at the age of 24 has quite a lot of experience. He was released by West Brom in May due to new signings coming in and he was deemed to wanted by Roy Hodgson. Mallorca snapped him up on a free, which in my opinion is a bargain. He'll be up against lots of good wingers this season. It'll be a big test for the former Feyenoord man. If he can get a good season under his belt this year then that should help massively. Zuiverloon is a player who thrives on confidence boosting. 7.7/10

 

 

Club: Osasuna
Name: Roland Lamah
Age: 23
Nationality: Belgium

                        Lamah represents his country at the under 19's UEFA European Championships

 

The 23-year-old was born in Ivory Coast to Guinean parents but is elidgable to play for Belgium. He has made 5 caps for the senior Belgian team and is seen as a future successor to Lille winger Eden Hazard who is the current first team regular for Belgium on the wing. His best attribute is his pace. Without it he wouldn't be the player he is. He's also a good crosser of the ball and can also fill in as a striker if needs be. The ex- Anderlecht, Roda JC and Le Mans midfielder joined Osasuna in 2011. He's made 1 app already this season and looks like coach, Jose Luis Mendillibar, is going to go with Roland more as he fits into the new look strategy more than other squad members. Whether he will burst onto the scene soon I don't know. I doubt it. 7.2/10

 

 

Club: Racing

Name: Christian Stuani

Age: 24

Nationality: Uruguay


Stuani takes on experienced German defensive midfielder Khedira as the Uruguayan impressed at Levante last season where he scored a total of 8 league goals

 

The 24-year-old is a Reggina striker who is loaned out a lot. Christian is known for his lethal finishing skills. He netted 22 goals for Albacete in 2009-2010 on loan. Then he moved to Levante last season and netted 8 goals, also on loan. Now he's with Racing de Santander on loan and is hoping for another season of goals, goals, goals. An eager player who is technically very good. He's also strong and used as a target man most of the time standing at 6ft 1. He's always lively and wants to score. Not the quickest but will get you goals, not just in normal matches but in those more significant matches that you really need to win as a team. Stuani is a well travelled player and a cool customer infront of goal. I expect atleast 5-10 goals this season unless a serious injury effects him. 7.9/10

 

 

Club: Rayo Vallecano

Name: David Cobeno
Age: 29
Nationality: Spain

2010-2011 season: The 6ft 2 goalkeeper stays on task as he helps Vallecano win promotion to La Liga in a pivotal game after a eight year wait

 

Cobeno has played for a host of La Liga teams during his playing career. Including Real Madrid, Sevilla and Almeria. The goalkeeper is known for his goal two seasons ago for Vallecano where he chipped the opposition keeper from his own box. He missed just four league games in 42 last campaign and helped his side win promotion. Rayo Vallecano are favourites to drop this season but they are boosted by the arrival of former Liverpool and Spanish under 21 star Daniel Pacheco on loan and of course Cobeno in goal. He's getting on a little now at the age of 29. He's still a top class keeper with buckets full of valuable experience in Spanish football. Vallecano wouldn't know what to do without him. He'll play an important role for the newly promoted side this year. 7.5/10

 

 

Club: Real Betis
Name: Roque Santa Cruz
Age: 30
Nationality: Paraguay

The former Bayern Munich and Blackburn striker is crowded by swarms of excited young Betis fans following his move from Man City on loan 

 

The experienced South American striker has joined Real Betis on loan from Man City for a season. Roque was linked with Leeds, Sunderland and Celtic but eventually opted for Pepe Mel's men. The striker was loaned out to Blackburn last season but was ineffective and didn't manage a single goal. He never really settled in at Manchester City and he was always outpicked by Mark Hughes. But I believe he still has something to prove and now he's playing in a new league and under new managment things should only get better. This is a player with vast experience at the top level playing for high-profile teams under lots of pressure. The joint all time top scorer for his nation Paraguay and clocked up 31 goals for Bayern Munich in his eight year stay. I think he will be a big player for Betis this season and if he does well he may even be signed permantley because his chances of getting back into the City team are very slim as the club now have forwards such as Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli. Roque, and many other strikers, have no chance against those four players. 8.6/10

 

 

Club: Real Madrid
Name: Raphael Varane
Age: 18
Nationality: France

The teenage sensation is thrilled to be under the wings of Jose Mourinho at one of the biggest clubs in the world

 

While many students mark the end of their examinations with a party or two, Lille-born central defender Raphael celebrated sitting his final high-school economics paper by completing a £8.5m move from Lens to Real Madrid. Hotly pursued for several months by Manchester United, the 18-year-old had looked certain to be on his way to Old Trafford. But Mourinho had other ideas, and he persuaded the Frenchman to join Real. Last season was his first in Ligue 1 and he was a class act. A big muscular build, speed, good positional sense and grace on the ball. And he can also slip into the role of midfielder enforcer if required. The question mark is has he stepped up to the bigger league to soon. With Lens getting relegated last season it was obvious the France under 21 star would be leaving for a more elite club in the summer. He will have to work at it though to try and secure a first team spot. Madrid already have Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho, Raul Albiol and Sergio Ramos to play in the heart of the defence. His chances of playing regularly at the moment are slim at best. Clearly the pressure is on. Making the switch from a failing Ligue 1 side to a team like Real Madrid is not for the faint-hearted. He will definatley develop at Madrid, especially under Mourniho. He's intelligant, amazingly calm and a very solid defender. If anyone can make it, it's him. 10/10

 

 

Club: Real Sociedad
Name: Jeffrey Sarpong
Age: 23
Nationality: Holland

                   Sarpong licks his lips at the prospect of first team La Liga football

 

The former Ajax and NEC attacking midfielder is enjoying life in Spain. His side, Sociedad, have signed well known players McDonald Mariga from Inter Milan on loan and Carlos Vela from Arsenal on loan to help bolster their attacking options. Sarpong will no doubt be the man who will supply these players with all they need. He plays in the 'hole' just behind the striker. He can fill in on the wing but excels as a advanced central midfield player. Rarely scores but is known for his assists and passion for the game. The ex-Holland under 21 international is like a ball of energy and has a tremendous work rate. I should think a mid-table finish is a cert for Sociedad and Sarpong this term. Look out for him. 7.4/10

 

 

Club: Sevilla

Name: Diego Perotti

Age: 23

Nationality: Argentina


Perotti in his trademark stance as he prepares to take on his opponent using his unbelievable pace and skill

 

A player with Champions League experience and international experience with Argentina. Possesses a lethal shot, able to cut in when used as an inverted winger and create something out of pretty much the impossible, a typical South American winger full of flair and ambition. It wouldn't surprise me if Diego was playing in the Premier League or one of the bigger clubs, no offence to Sevilla, in the near future. He's got bags of talent. Still only just 23 years of age and has made his mark firmly in the first team for the past 2 seasons now. Perotti thrives in the liberal attacking enviroment Sevilla have created. Another one I expect big things from this term. Masses amount of serious potential. Check out the Argentina winger in action here 9.3/10

Club: Sporting Gijon
Name: Sebastian Eguren
Age: 30
Nationality: Uruguay

Experienced Eguren smiles for the camera as he finishes off another pleasing season in red and white stripes

 

The former Rosenborg and Villarreal defensive midfielder enjoyed a solid season last year making 30 apps for Gijon and clocking up one goal. The Uruguayan has represented his country 42 times and is one of Gijon's best players at the club. He knows what the La Liga is all about and he uses his knowledge of the game to be able to compete with some of the best in the world. In-fact he was a member of the Uruguay team that recently won the Copa America 2011. Eguren is the anchor man in Sporting's midfield and holds the core of the midfield together. Breaks up the play and allows the more creative players to bomb forward. An unselfish and clever player who has still got a good five years left in him. Always consistent and trustworthy. 8.6/10

 

Club: Valencia
Name: Pablo Hernandez
Age: 26
Nationality: Spain

Hernandez keeps up his glowing reputation with another outstanding performance in the Champions League

 

Hernandez recently broke into the Spanish National Team with his good performances for Valencia. He scored 7 goals in total last season and now Juan Mata has left for Chelsea he will get more of the attention that's for sure. Similar to Sevilla winger Perroti (see above) in that he's quick, intelligant and able to cut inside very well and usually produces something positive. Pablo has scored in various Champions League matches for Valenca and will be participating in the tournament once again this year. He has a lot of experience in the La Liga and at 26 still has a lot to deliver. He's working with good players at Valencia in the likes of Solado, Banega ect. Not only I rate Hernandez but so do a lot of other people that I know. A key player to Valencia's attacking threat that they pose. The club has a proud history and is known for it's goals. The ex-Cadiz right winger certainly helps with that reputation. 9.4/10

 

 

Club: Villarreal
Name: Nilmar
Age: 27
Nationality: Brazil

  The 27-year-old in an all too familar stance as he celebrates another goal with a huge grin on his face

 

The classy no.7 scored a total of 18 goals in all competitions last campaign. Absolutley lethal when infront of goal and gives defenders nightmares with his pace and how he loves to play on the last man's shoulder constantly. He's lucky in that he has players such as Borja Valero in the team that can assist him when scoring goals. But you still have to put them away and he does. Not just for his club. Also for his country, Brazil. Made 23 appearances for his nation and scored 9 goals. Not bad at all. Highly rated Neymar has stole most of the limelight in the Brazilian strikeforce department over the past couple of seasons but Nilmar doesn't care. He keeps up his good work rate and overall play throughout and that is why he's a Brazilian international and a first teamer for a top six La Liga side. The former Lyon and Corinthians, who seem to stir up some real gems that usually go on to do really well for in the bigger leagues, is a really exciting young(ish) prospect that many know about already. 9.1/10

 

 

Club: Zaragoza

 Name: Helder Postiga

 Age: 29

Nationality: Portugal

   Postiga enjoys his last few games for Sporting as he leaves on transfer deadline day for Zaragoza 

 

Helder has 41 caps for Portugal and has 16 goals. A big, strong target man who plays very much in the same style as Peter Crouch in that he's always using his head and assists players around him so well. Postiga started his career with Porto and argueably played his best football there and scored 22 goals in 58 appearances. These good displays attracted interest from a host of Premier League sides and the 29-year-old opted for Spurs in 2003 but soon found out the English style of play wasn't meant for him. Now he's with Zaragoza after making the switch from Sporting Lisbon for £2.5m on deadline day. Postiga is pretty much guarenteed first team football at Zaragoza and this is a chance for him to impress in a new league. He's already established himself on the international stage and at club level. Postiga has nothing to prove. Hopefully he can keep up his good goalscoring record for Zaragoza in the La Liga this campaign. 8.4/10

 

So that concludes my Liga Liga 2011-2012 'one's to watch'. I've picked the players that I feel will have the biggest impact for their team this season and the players who have the most potential to be big in the future. Whether that's short-term or long-term. One to definatley watch out for is Thiago Alacantra of Barcelona. Deserves his 10/10. This player will be big in the future. Thanks for reading and I hope some of my predictions will pull off.